Classification and management of gynecomastia: Defining the role of ultrasound-assisted liposuction

Rod J. Rohrich, Richard Y. Ha, Jeffrey M. Kenkel, William P. Adams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

223 Scopus citations


Gynecomastia, or excessive male breast development, has an incidence of 32 to 65 percent in the male population. This condition has important physical and psychological impacts. Advances in elucidating the pathophysiology of gynecomastia have been made, though understanding remains limited. Recommendations for evaluation and workup have varied and are often arbitrary. A diagnostic algorithm is suggested, with emphasis on a comprehensive history, physical examination, and minimizing unnecessary diagnostic testing. Medical management has had limited success; surgical therapy, primarily through excisional techniques, has been the accepted standard. Although effective, excisional techniques subject patients to large, visible scars. Ultrasound-assisted liposuction has recently emerged as a safe and effective method for the treatment of gynecomastia. It is particularly efficient in the removal of the dense, fibrous male breast tissue while offering advantages in minimal external scarring. A new system of classification and graduated treatment is proposed, based on glandular versus fibrous hypertrophy and degree of breast ptosis (skin excess). The authors' series of 61 patients with gynecomastia from 1987 to 2000 at the University of Texas Southwestern Department of Plastic Surgery demonstrated an overall success rate of 86.9 percent using suction-assisted lipectomy (1987 to 1997) and ultrasound-assisted liposuction (1997 to 2000). The authors have found ultrasound-assisted liposuction to be effective in treating most grades of gynecomastia. Excisional techniques are reserved for severe gynecomastia with significant skin excess after attempted ultrasound-assisted liposuction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)909-923
Number of pages15
JournalPlastic and reconstructive surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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